Russia’s L’Homme Absurde Pack Gripping Drama Into New Post-Black Metal LP

The Russian group L’Homme Absurde’s new album Belong feels like a deeply personal exploration of an emotional breakdown. The journey does pack some subtly cathartic elements via the jarring release of melodic energy throughout this album, but the band also pile on a real, palpable confrontation with emotional desperation. They’ve embedded their powerful but despondent sounding rhythms in stylistic choices that deliver plenty of accessibility — there’s not an overwhelming presence of blast beats, for instance — but that openness lets the extra amplified emotional anguish fall right out that much more clearly. They’ve opened up a space between the surging bass lines, cacophonous drum rhythms, and more — and they’ve thereby expounded on a tension that’s a bit more close to the chest.

Stylistically, on their new album, L’Homme Absurde prove rather hard to pin down, and it’s great. The variety suits their emotional personalizations very well. Thanks to their dynamics, listeners can really feel the hints of triumphs and crushes of the collapses on the other side. The spread of this album delivers big time on the promises of dramatic intensity suggested by the swings on the initial couple of tracks. Song one — titled simply “0” — starts with a solemn but strangely catchy, creeping electronic beat that actually appears again at the album’s conclusion. But from there, L’Homme Absurde promptly launch into blistering riffs that feel like they’re searing an impression on listeners’ psyches — they’re that speedy and intricately intense, with deathly surging physical heft.

Overall, the group has mixed blast beats and intense riffing like mark straightforward black metal and blackened hardcore into more directly desperately emotional-sounding, frenzied melody, and they’ve topped off the mixture with desperately harried, harsh vocal work. The net result is the major amplification of the emotional burns, here situated in this physically grueling context.

Throughout Belong, there’s always major but weighted feeling drama. The title track itself feels like a real standout, thanks to the range packed into that song alone, which very quickly starts with a blast beat and searing riff cacophony but also features emotional exhaust-ridden slowdowns. Other moments like “Departure” and “Sanctuary” also include softer interludes. Meanwhile, “Forsaken” features hints of straightforward, solo-worthy heavy metal riffing. Thanks to the dynamic swings, there’s plenty of breathing space on Belong, but the soul-chilling drama consistently nabs the center spotlight.

5/5 Stars

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